Explainer - Workforce Australia and Points Based Activation System (PBAS)

Workforce Australia

On 4 July 2022, Workforce Australia replaced jobactive, the Australian Government’s employment service.

Workforce Australia and Workforce Australia Online helps all Australians, not just people on income support, to find, keep, and change jobs or create their own job. It connects businesses with individuals, and provides tailored case management for an individual’s needs.

Workforce Australia introduces a flexible Points Based Activation System for all individuals who have mutual obligation requirements in Workforce Australia Online and Workforce Australia Services.

The Australian Government has recently announced changes to Workforce Australia settings.

Key Points

Content updated 1 August 2022.

Individuals have flexibility and choice in deciding which tasks and activities they complete under the Points Based Activation System, recognising that there is no one-size-fits all pathway to employment.

Everyone in Workforce Australia is supported to understand and meet their mutual obligation requirements, either by dedicated staff from the department’s contact centre, or through a Workforce Australia Employment Services Provider.

Workforce Australia Employment Services Providers must ensure the services they deliver onsite, or at the activity individuals are participating in, are safe and reasonable, beneficial to participants and meet local health advice. The provider must arrange or use alternative suitable and safe means to deliver the service, for example, by phone or video, where there are public safety concerns.

To support the transition of Workforce Australia participants into the Points Based Activation System, participants will have two reporting periods where no compliance action will be raised. Participants now have an opportunity to explore the system and find out more about the range of tasks and activities they can undertake to meet their points target and their points values. Participants can speak to their provider or the department's contact centre to discuss the tailoring of their points target to their personal circumstances and how to meet their requirements.

All other mutual obligation requirements resumed from 1 August 2022. This includes requirements like agreeing to a Job Plan or Participation Plan, attending provider and other compulsory appointments, following up on job referrals, attending job interviews and accepting any suitable job offer – refer to the mutual obligation requirements explainer.

The Australian Government has also temporarily suspended mutual obligation requirements for those local government areas in New South Wales affected by the recent rain events and flooding to 31 August 2022 (inclusive).

Points targets are individually tailored to reflect each individual’s personal circumstances and local labour market conditions, and can be adjusted at any time during their reporting period.

The Points Based Activation System does not apply to participants in Transition to Work, ParentsNext, Disability Employment Services or the Community Development Program. Participants in these programs do not use the points system and continue with their mutual obligation requirements the same way they do now.

Workforce Australia

Workforce Australia delivers a more flexible and respectful employment service that will help people move into, or towards, secure employment. It:

  • supports eligible individuals to access support online or through services delivered by providers based on their own personal needs
  • helps providers assist people who need additional support by redirecting job-ready individuals to online services
  • assists businesses to recruit staff with the right skills to match their needs, ensuring a more efficient recruitment process.

Individuals who are being referred to employment services will have an appointment with staff at Services Australia. Where an individual is eligible for online services, but they prefer to be supported by a Workforce Australia employment service provider, they can opt out of online services either themselves or by contacting the department’s contact centre.

The first time a person lodges an income support claim they must complete a Job Seeker Snapshot, either online or at their Participation Interview with Services Australia. Once an individual has completed their Participation Interview and based on the responses to the Job Seeker Snapshot, they will either attend an initial appointment with a provider or be connected to online services.

Workforce Australia Online

Workforce Australia Online supports job-ready individuals to access online tools, information and training to help them move into employment.

Everyone accessing Workforce Australia Online are supported by dedicated staff from the department’s contact centre to help participants who are assessed as job-ready and are referred to Workforce Australia Online Services.

This support is provided toll-free, and provides answers to people’s concerns, and assistance relevant to each individual’s needs including:

  • information and technical support
  • assistance to tailor their points target and manage their mutual obligation requirements
  • access to education and training and other supports
  • access to financial assistance through the Digital Employment Fund. 

Regular reviews will ensure online servicing remains appropriate and that an individual is making progress towards employment.

Importantly, individuals using online servicing can choose to move to a provider for additional support at any time and for any reason.

Workforce Australia Services

People on income support with mutual obligation requirements who need personalised case management support will be connected to a provider that will tailor support to help get them job-ready, and connected with suitable, secure employment.

Providers guide individuals to manage their participation in Workforce Australia Services, including helping them understand how to use the Points Based Activation System to meet their points target each month.

In certain locations there will be specialist providers to deliver personalised services to cohorts including culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), Indigenous Australians, ex-offenders, and refugees.

Points Based Activation System

The Points Based Activation System, which commenced on 4 July 2022 is used by individuals in Workforce Australia Services and Workforce Australia Online to meet their mutual obligation requirements. The Points Based Activation System does not apply to participants in Transition to Work, ParentsNext, the Disability Employment Services Program or Community Development Program.

The Points Based Activation System was developed in response to recommendations that a more flexible system was needed that allowed people to have greater choice in meeting their mutual obligation requirements in return for income support.

  • individuals are set a number of points, or a ‘points target’, they need to achieve each monthly reporting period
  • this points target is tailored to consider the individuals’ personal circumstances and their local labour market conditions.

If an individual considers they need to have their points target reviewed they can speak with their provider or dedicated staff in the department’s contact centre.

At the end of each reporting period, if a participant has not just met but gone above their points target they can bank any additional points (up to half of their points target). These points will be automatically applied to reduce their points target at the start of the next reporting period.

Individuals receive support and assistance from providers or the department’s contact centre staff to help understand and meet their mutual obligation requirements. They are also be sent reminders about reporting their participation via notification and SMS or email 15 days before the end of their points reporting period, and again 5 days before the end of their points reporting period.

Participants are able to view their points target and see how they are progressing through their reporting period via their Workforce Australia Online dashboard on the website, mobile app or by contacting their provider or the department’s contact centre.

Participants who are not able to self-report are supported by their provider in planning and recording their tasks and activities to meet their points target.

High Level Overview of the Points Based Activation System (PBAS)

Individually tailored points target

All participants in Workforce Australia have their own individually tailored points target that reflects their personal circumstances and their local labour market.

Participants can have their points target adjusted if their circumstances change at any time by speaking with their provider or the department’s contact centre. The maximum points target to meet each month is 100 points. This includes a minimum job search requirement of 4 per month (for a total of 20 points). 

An individual’s points target can be adjusted each reporting period to recognise their personal circumstances and taking into account their local labour market conditions.

To recognise individual circumstances, such as where someone has a partial work capacity, is aged 55 or older, or is a principal carer parent, the points target will be decreased by at least 40 points each reporting period to recognise these circumstances. The points target can also be adjusted for other personal circumstances, such as barriers to employment, other caring responsibilities, illness or disability.

The points target is also reduced by 20 points to recognise difficult labour market conditions in certain employment regions. This recognises that there may be fewer opportunities for the participant to apply for suitable, secure employment.

Providers or the department’s contact centre can also adjust the participant’s minimum job search requirement, at any stage, based on the participant’s circumstances.

If someone cannot meet their points target, they are able to contact their provider or the department’s contact centre, who will check to ensure that the individual’s points target is appropriately tailored to their circumstances and can adjust, as required.

Can the points target be set to zero?

Providers may apply credits to reduce both the points target and the minimum job search requirement to zero for individuals who:

  • attend full-time residential or intensive drug and alcohol treatment or rehabilitation
  • undertake a Defence Force Reserves training camp
  • relocate for a job
  • are Early School Leavers (ESLs) undertaking sufficient hours of study, or study and paid work, to meet ESL requirements.

What tasks and activities contribute to the points target?

Individuals have flexibility and choice in deciding which tasks and activities they complete to earn points, recognising that there is no one-size-fits-all pathway to employment.

Under the Points Based Activation System, the tasks and activities people can do include job searches, interviews, commencing a job, doing paid work, study and training, or participating in a variety of activities.

Each task and activity has a points value. The values are based on the level of engagement and commitment required to complete the task or activity, and the strength of the link to employment, with more intensive activities attracting higher points.

Individuals will earn points towards their target by reporting the completion of tasks and activities by using the Workforce Australia website or app. Where someone cannot self-manage their own reporting requirements, their provider will do it for them.

Please refer to the list of task and activity options available for information regarding specific points values.

How does this compare to the current jobactive program?

Under Workforce Australia the Points Based Activation System provides greater flexibility and diversity of choice for people to meet their mutual obligation requirements.

The previous jobactive system requires people to do up to 20 job searches per month and does not recognise the wide range of other tasks and activities available to participants to become job-ready and get a job.

Under Workforce Australia, the Points Based Activation System also recognises job interviews, obtaining a driver’s license, volunteering, online learning modules, as well as a range of other task and activity options.

If a participant was previously undertaking 20 job search per month in jobactive, they could continue to do so in the new Points Based Activation System if they choose to make up their 100 points in this way, at 5 points per job search.

How are these changes being communicated?

Prior to 4 July the department sent advice to individuals directly impacted by the changes to employment services. This advice included Transition to Workforce Australia website for further information, a factsheet on the changes to mutual obligation requirements, and a contact number 1300 854 414 individuals can call for support.

All individuals impacted received this advice via their jobactive inbox before Workforce Australia commenced on 4 July 2022.

Guidance has been provided to individuals to support them in how to report their points including through the publication of IT task cards and videos. A webinar introducing the Points Based Activation System has also been made available.

People have received support from both the department’s contact centre staff and their providers to ensure a smooth transition. The department’s contact centre has been resourced to respond to calls and emails from individuals and business. This includes support to those connected to providers as well as individuals in the online service.

The Targeted Compliance Framework and Points Based Activation System

Consequences under the Targeted Compliance Framework will apply where participants do not meet their requirements without a valid reason - including meeting their monthly points target. 

However, to support participants during transition, if a participant does not meet their points target in their first two reporting periods compliance action will not be raised, including payment suspension. As an additional safeguard, people transitioning to Workforce Australia had their Targeted Compliance Framework demerits reset to zero. This will give people more time to adjust to the new settings.

Refer to the mutual obligations requirements explainer for more detail.

Importantly, the Targeted Compliance Framework also includes two review points - Capability Interviews (conducted by providers or staff in the department’s contact centre for participants in the online service) and Capability Assessments (conducted by Services Australia staff) to ensure participants’ requirements are appropriate.

Consultation and Trials

There has been extensive consultation and user-testing on the design and operation of the Points Based Activation System (including the points values for tasks and activities) with participants, New Employment Services Trial (NEST) and jobactive providers, peak bodies, community groups, and other interested stakeholders.

The Points Based Activation System has been trialled in the NEST regions of Adelaide South and the New South Wales Mid North Coast since December 2020. Feedback and on-the-ground experience throughout this trial has helped inform and refine the final design of the Points Based Activation System under Workforce Australia.

The department will monitor the implementation of the Points Based Activation System and can adjust points values if required.

The Workforce Australia App and WorkforceAustralia.gov.au

The previous jobactive site and jobactive Job Seeker app used by participants was replaced by WorkforceAustralia.gov.au and the Workforce Australia app on 4 July 2022. This applied not only to previous jobactive participants, but also to participants of other employment services that use this platform, such as Transition to Work, ParentsNext, Disability Employment Services Program or the Community Development Program.

The use of the Workforce Australia platform does not change mutual obligation settings for participants in these other programs. The Points Based Activation System does not apply to participants in Transition to Work, ParentsNext, Disability Employment Services or the Community Development Program.

Participants in these programs have access to the Workforce Australia app and website so they can benefit from the tools and information available to all individuals. Participants use their same logon and can continue to manage their mutual obligation requirements the same way they did previously. 

Further information


Collection of information and fact sheets on Workforce Australia

Transition to Workforce Australia


Participant factsheet included in transition advice

Information about your points target


Points values factsheet

Points values for tasks and activities in the Points Based Activation System


Copy of the Points Based Activation System webinar – PowerPoint presentation

DESE Workforce Australia webpage


Newsroom explainer regarding mutual obligation requirements

Mutual obligations requirements explainer

Correct at time of publication.